Friday, November 30, 2007
Sunday in The Times: More on Centenary's 'new' mascot. VOTE NOW!
Centenary will keep its nicknames of Ladies and Gents, but the school will add a mascot for some fun. Voting continues through Sunday at midnight for Centenary students, alumni, staff and faculty: go to centenary.edu/mascot to vote.
Times readers will be able to voice their mascot opinion through votes Sunday online at shreveporttimes.com.
Here are the school's five finalists. This information is from Centenary's marketing and communications department. The mascot art is by the talented David Wright of The Times, who drew each finalist to scale, more or less.
Exploration is the important value embodied by the mascot Explorers, connecting the mascot nicely to the college’s current branding statement, “Explore. Invent. Connect.” Explorers are fearless adventurers and risk-takers, seeking new experiences through open-mindedness and independence. Picture a swash-buckling pirate, a frontier-opening pioneer, a high-tech scientist or a high-flying astronaut — or any and all of these incarnations. The Explorers mascot links athletics with academics by pointing back to our mission statement without being nerdy, silly, or campy; exploration is dignified. The Sioux City Explorers, a minor league baseball team, are often referred to simply as the X’s, an interesting interpretation worth considering. Currently, there is only one NCAA Div. I school using the concept: the LaSalle University Explorers in Philadelphia.
Squirrels are small creatures that are “clever”, “persistent”, “expert climbers” and “thrive in urban environments”. Their abundance on campus and around Shreveport seem to make them a natural mascot possibility. General public opinion is favorable with such iconic popular images as Rocky from Rocky & Bullwinkle, Sandy Cheeks from SpongeBob Squarepants, and Hammy from Over the Hedge. However, don’t let the cuddly images fool you. Squirrels have incredibly sharp teeth and, through gnawing-induced power outages, have brought down the power grids of stock markets, universities, and even cities. Currently, only Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, utilizes the Squirrels mascot.
Catahoulas, also known as Catahoula Leopard Dogs, are the official state dogs of Louisiana. Catahoulas are usually merle colored animals with eyes of mismatched color — they are described variously as “solid,” “strong,” “independent,” “physical,” “highly intelligent,” and “very noisy.” In addition to the home state connection, the aforementioned attributes positively articulate the Centenary experience and the Centenary community. Though the idea of a dog as mascot (e.g., University of Georgia) may not be unique, the introduction of the Catahoulas offers many one-of-a-kind possibilities for portrayal (whether real and/or animated). The distinctiveness of the Centenary Catahoulas will be translated much like the popular University of Southern Illinois Salukis. There are no current Catahoula mascot references among NCAA or professional athletic teams.
Flathead catfish, nicknamed the Mud Cats, are a North American freshwater variety of fish found in rivers throughout the Missouri and Mississippi River basins, including the Red River. These fish can grow to weigh up to 120 pounds and are typically found at the bottom of rivers, hence the “mud cat” moniker. There is a connection — although slight — to the already established Shreveport/Bossier community through S/B’s popular minor league hockey team, the Mud Bugs. In the college world, the Mud Cats offer a unique mascot opportunity. So unique, in fact, that one can imagine a “celebrity” potential for the Mud Cats, much like the Banana Slugs of the University of Santa Cruz. The only references found so far are the Mississippi Mudcats (an arena football team) and the Carolina Mudcats (a minor league baseball team). Currently, there is no NCAA Div. I school with the Mud Cats as a mascot.
Abundant in our geographical region, Fire Ants are small insects that really “pack a wallop” when they sting. These fierce, tenacious creatures rely on teamwork to accomplish their tasks and pop up where you may least expect. Just as their size parallels the smallness of our own student population, and their characteristics of perseverance and might model that of our Centenary community, the maroon color of their bodies will also help associate the Fire Ant with Centenary’s dominant school color (also maroon). The Centenary Fire Ants will be a versatile mascot: cute and funny at one moment and fighting strong the next. An additional benefit to this mascot choice is the infrequent use of Fire Ants as college mascots. Currently, there is only one NCAA school, the University of South Carolina – Sumter Fire Ants in Sumter, South Carolina.